There’s plenty of excitement surrounding the 2016-17 Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and for good reason. With incoming rookies Travis Sanheim, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Radel Fazleev and Alex Lyon joining a team that saw the Flyers bring in high-end AHL talents like T.J. Brennan, Will O’Neill and Andy Miele among others, expectations are high for a Phantoms franchise that has failed to qualify for the postseason in each of the previous seven seasons.
The Phantoms hope to live up to the high expectations this season, and got off to a fast start in their season-opening win last Saturday – scoring in the opening minute of the season and at times look downright dominant in a 4-2 win over Springfield.
The plan moving forward is to provide a weekly recap of what’s going on with the Flyers’ AHL affiliate as well as to point out relevant insights on some of the organization’s top prospects playing at the professional level.
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (1-0-0-0)
Saturday, October 15th: Springfield – 4 at Lehigh Valley – 2
Allentown – The Lehigh Valley Phantoms put on a show in their regular season opener in front of a standing-room sellout crowd of 8,505 fans at the PPL Center Saturday night – scoring early and often in a 4-2 win over the Springfield Thunderbirds.
Mark Zengerle gave the Phantoms a lead in the opening minute of play, T.J. Brennan struck gold in the final seconds of the first period and Danick Martel tallied a pair of goals to lead Lehigh Valley to victory.
WATCH: Danick Martel talks about his two-goal performance on opening night, accepting his role & striving for consistency in 2016-17.
Anthony Stolarz was also sharp – making timely saves and finishing with 31 stops on the night. He had some key saves when things got a little sloppy in the frame for Lehigh Valley, but ultimately the team battled through a parade of early third period penalties in route to securing the two points.
The Week Ahead
Friday, October 21st: Bridgeport at Lehigh Valley – 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday, October 22nd: Hartford at Lehigh Valley – 7:05 p.m. ET
- Defenseman Travis Sanheim, who looked sharp in the Phantoms’ preseason, continued to show flashes of brilliance in Lehigh Valley’s season opener. On a particular play early in the 2nd period in Saturday’s season opener, Sanheim decided to step up in the neutral zone – challenging an attacking forward and breaking up the play. Not only only did Sanheim cause a turnover, but his quick reaction to send a puck up ice to the speedy Danick Martel lead to Martel’s second tally of the night.
- Martel stole the show in the season opener, twice beating veteran goaltender Mike McKenna with both quick and well-placed shots – creating offensive chances with his speed and finishing the play.
- Alex Lyon looked sharp in AHL preseason action, and although he’s battling Anthony Stolarz for starts this season – he’s worth keeping tabs on this weekend as he expects to make his regular season pro debut.